Medieval Irish buildings, 1100–1600

Tadhg O'Keeffe

Paperback €22.45
Catalogue Price: €24.95
ISBN: 978-1-84682-248-3
August 2015. 320pp; colour ills.

‘O’Keeffe nails his colours to the mast in the preface. His book is an effort to provide an ‘up-to-date, authoritative and properly referenced account of the cultures of medieval architectural endeavour in Ireland’, to be both a reference text and a vade mecum for the architectural historian. In pursuing these ambitions, O’Keeffe has succeeded and this is a tremendous achievement … It is hard to exaggerate the utility of this book for the student of Irish architectural history. It is a wonderful addition to the invaluable Maynooth Research Guides for Irish Local History of which this volume is number 18 in the series’, Michael O'Neill, Irish Archives (2016).

‘An excellent book, which in five chapters provides the reader with a firm framework for the development of medieval buildings and the importance of the methods that one might use to “read” them … O’Keeffe offers many practical tips and advice with regard to the appreciation of medieval buildings. It is refreshing to see a scholar offer such an orderly and generous sharing of his scholarship. All readers will learn something from this book’, Archaeology Ireland (Winter 2015).

‘This new addition to the Maynooth Research Guide series is very much the product of a career spent writing on the nature of settlement in the medieval Anglo-Norman and Gaelic-Irish worlds. The prose is written in a clear and engaging manner that conveys the range and depth of insights that medieval buildings can provide … This book is to be strongly recommended for anyone who is interested in medieval architecture. It brings to the fore the different methodologies available today to archaeologists and architectural historians for the study of buildings … This book marks an important milestone in our understanding of these myriad building types and the societies that produced them and will prove a boon to scholarly research going into the future’, James Lyttleton, Irish Economic and Social History (2016).

‘A welcome addition to this series [Maynooth Research guides for Irish Local History] … there is little doubt that O’Keeffe’s work will become an essential text for those seeking a grounding in Irish medieval architectural history … O’Keeffe’s strength lies in telling us how to look, and helping us to understand (and question) what we see. This work is innovative … the text is rich with footnotes and images’, Danielle O'Donovan, Irish Arts Review (Dec. 2015–Feb. 2016). 

‘This is a substantial handbook for anyone looking at medieval buildings and medieval architecture … Throughout, the text is well illustrated and provided with photographs to clearly illustrate the features being described … this is a very practical handbook for the student of medieval architecture … detailed descriptions of sites and building types are augmented with excellent plans and photographs. This is an essential book for anyone interested in Irish medieval buildings and the medieval period in general’, Duncan Berryman, Ulster Archaeological Society newsletter (Autumn 2015).

‘Tadhg O’Keeffe has written a marvellous guide to the reading and study of medieval architecture and archaeological remains in the Irish landscape … O’Keeffe’s command of secondary sources is first rate … This volume is handsomely illustrated with a mix of colour and black and white photography, maps and drawings, which is very important in a guide of this nature … with this publication, Tadhg O’Keeffe has made an important, if not the definitive, contribution to the study of medieval buildings and architecture in Ireland’, Brendan Scott, Breifne (2016).

‘Tadhg O’Keeffe suggests that the principal aim of his volume is to share “knowledge of medieval Irish buildings with those for whom history is a passion” but for whom historic buildings remain difficult-to-read testimonies of the medieval past”. O’Keeffe’s aim is certainly realised in this clearly written and richly illustrated volume. It provides the student, visitor and professional with an impressive overview of the form, function and meaning of many of Ireland’s surviving medieval buildings ... There is no doubt that this engaging and original volume will inspire both existing and future scholars to seek greater access to, and engagement with, Ireland’s medieval buildings for years to come', Kate Giles, Journal of Irish Archaeology (2017).

‘A handbook for those interested in medieval buildings … detailed descriptions of sites and building types are augmented with excellent plans and photographs … [this book] offers a very useful introduction to a rich heritage of sites. Throughout, the text is well illustrated with good quality photographs, and is supported by an intelligent and clear text. It will be much appreciated by both general readers new to Irish medieval architecture and even experts, as it contains many new observations on buildings that were thought to be well understood', Duncan Berryman, Medieval Settlement Research (2016).

‘A marvellous wealth of ground plans and photographs enhances this major study. Astonishingly , more than 7,500 ruins of medieval castles and church buildings abound across Ireland. O’Keeffe rightly encourages readers to go out and visit them. His book is the result of 30 years of study of ecclesiastical and secular stone buildings', E.J. Kealy, Choice (July 2016).

'The author's impressive handling of the various elements such as gate buildings, towers, and drawbridges is the first such treatment in Ireland of these features on a large scale and he deserves to be congratulate ... Even though the audience for this book is the student and, as such, is intended to paint a general guide to studying the architecture of the period, it does far more than that and is densely packed with many new insights. It is a book that is destined to be with us for many years to come', Colum Hourihane, The Medieval Review, (January 2020).